FAQ about Descubre el Español con Santillana – Discover Spanish


What is the objective of Descubre el español con Santillana?

Descubre el español is a comprehensive program that is jam-packed with rich and engaging activities that help elementary students learn Spanish through the five Cs: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons and Communities. Descubre el español explores not only the language, but also the culture of twenty Spanish-speaking countries, creating as much interest in the culture as in the language, thus promoting student’s interest.

Who might benefit from this program?

The program engages and supports students of all language levels, from beginners to heritage speakers. There are six levels available to  choose from.  The program may also be used in language immersion settings or in classes with more heritage learners, who may benefit from the program’s differentiated instruction as well as the other components more suitable for reading classes, such as the anthologies and the thematic library.


Is this a sequential program?

Descubre el español con Santillana is not a sequential program in the sense that each level is not a continuation of the previous level. Each student book Unit 1 begins as a unit zero (assuming students enter the program with zero knowledge of Spanish) and the remaining units are sequential, spiraling within the grade level. Each level of the program moves at a faster pace, allowing for the recycling and expansion of acquired vocabulary and skills. Also, the cultural perspective of the material changes from level to level, while still being exposed to new vocabulary and cultural perspectives.


What is the suggested pacing for this program?

This program is divided into eight units. Each unit is divided into four weeks. Each week includes one hour class making a total of 32 hours program instruction plus 3 hours of  cultural exposure (Hispanic holiday celebrations ). The pacing of the program, however, may be easily adapted according to the student’s needs.

Scope and Sequence

Where is the Scope and Sequence?

There is a Scope and Sequence chart at the back of each Teacher’s Guide (Manual del Maestro).


Are the same characters used in all units within a level?

Yes. Each level has a set of main characters that recur in every unit. New characters interact with these recurring characters as they “visit” each country. The main characters are included as manipulative character cutouts in levels A-D. They are also included in the Video and Online components for all six grade levels.

Are the same characters used in all levels?

No, each level has its own set of recurring characters.


How many countries are covered in the program?

The program covers 20 Spanish-speaking countries. They are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.


Which standards are covered in Descubre el español con Santillana?

Descubre el español con Santillana was developed in close alignment not only to the national (US) foreign language standards but also to the Texas and California foreign language standards, which are two of the main adoption states. These standards are identified at the beginning of each lesson in the TGs. The TG lessons as well as the anthologies also partially cover the Texas Spanish Language Arts standards.

Five Cs

What are the Five Cs?

The Five Cs refer to the National Foreign Language Standards. They are: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.

How are they used in the program?

The Five Cs are covered throughout the program, and are easily identified by icons at points of use.

Backward Design

What does Backward Design mean?

With this type of curriculum planning, objectives are set before content and activities are chosen and developed. Teachers are supposed to begin with the end in mind. In Descubre el español con Santillana we set specific unit objectives at the beginning of each unit, and the informal as well as the formal assessments throughout and at the end of the unit measure and show evidence of attainment of objectives as well as progress in the curriculum.

Big Idea

What does “Big Idea” mean?

An element of Backward Design, this is what teachers want students to remember. This is what should endure when students are out of the classroom. In Descubre el español con Santillana, the Big Idea is the theme that revolves around the concepts and vocabulary that we want all students to achieve by the end of that unit. Each unit title is the Big Idea for that unit.

Differentiated Instruction

What is differentiated instruction?

Differentiated instruction provides opportunities for all children to learn a language, regardless of learning styles, achievement levels, race/ethnic origin, socioeconomic status, home language, or future academic goals. In Descubre el español con Santillana, we differentiate instruction by providing Multiple Access Strategies, by Meeting Individual Needs, and by providing activities for Multiple Intelligences.

Essential Questions

What is an Essential Question?

An element of Backward Design, these open-ended questions help organize and focus learning. In Descubre el español con Santillana, there is an Essential Question before each week. This question is revisited by teacher and answered by students at the end of each week.

Language Functions

What are Language Functions?

These refer to the purposes for which speech, writing or, in our case, language structures are being used. From language functions, language forms, such as grammatical concepts, can be extrapolated and taught instead of being taught in isolation. In Descubre el español con Santillana, language functions are the language objectives of each week since they’re the context in which forms such as verbs, adjectives, nouns, etc. are taught.

Meeting Individual Needs

What does “Meeting Individual Needs” mean?

Teaching strategies designed to address the needs of students with different modalities of learning.

How do we meet individual needs?

We include activities for students in Benchmark (students experiencing temporary or minor difficulties), Strategic (students who are slightly behind), and Intensive (students who are behind and considered at risk) groups. In addition, there are Challenge activities for advanced students or heritage speakers who may benefit from more demanding or effortful activities.

Where do these terms come from?

From the California Universal Access document contained in the California Language Arts Framework.

Multiple Access Strategies

What are “Multiple access strategies”?

Students may use a variety of strategies to access and engage in the material presented in the lessons.

What kinds of access strategies do we use?

We use strategies and stimuli designed for students to access basic communication concepts, basic communication concepts plus cultural content, and communication concepts, cultural content plus critical thinking skills in the target language.

Multiple Intelligences

What are multiple intelligences?

These are extension activities that encourage students to learn in eight different ways: linguistically, logically-mathematically, spatially, bodily-kinesthetically, musically, interpersonally, intrapersonally, and naturalistically.

Program student components:

The program includes the following student components:

At Tap Peques, the program includes printed materials, a rich eLearning Center 1-year Student License and 35 hours of  in classroom classes.

Descubre el español’s eLearning Center provides students a wealth of online resources to facilitate planning and instruction. Also, includes access to other online student resources such as: Student eBook, Descubre Online, Student Anthologies, videos and thematic libraries.

Student Books – Libro del estudiante

How are student books leveled?

Student books are leveled from A-F. All levels begin with a unit zero and self-spiral at increasing speeds, according to the appropriate difficulty for each level. Characters and contents in each book adjust to different pacing guides, school programs (FLEX), and grade levels.

Do student books have any content in English?

No. Descubre el español con Santillana student books are only in Spanish. If there is the need for support in English, it is provided in the Teacher’s Guide, some Blackline Masters, and some Online component.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Join the Tap Peques Family!

Sign Up For Our Newsletter!


Find us on YouTube

Join on Facebook